Nearly 70% of people think sports stars shouldn't be forced to do post-match interviews
Naomi Osaka stepped down from Roland Garros after being fined for refusing to do press interviews
Nearly 70 per cent of people think sports stars shouldn't have to conduct press interviews after games, in the wake of Naomi Osaka refusing to sit in front of press at the French Open.
After news broke of the story, we at JOE asked our followers what their opinion was on the issue, and the results are in: 67.9 per cent of you think that sports stars do not need to do post match interviews.
There was some healthy debate in the comments from both sides, with some arguing that they should be made to conduct these interviews as it is part and parcel of their job, and is a major part of why they get huge-sum brand contracts.
Sponsors and fans give the money to allow the tournaments to go ahead. Fans and Sponsors want to see the Stars in interviews so yeah, if they want the money they get paid, damn right they should do the interviews.
But, questions about the match and competition only.
— Guile (@SportingKetchup) June 3, 2021
Others argue that there is little value in hearing sports stars use the same dull phrases again and again after each game, and that if their mental health is suffering, they should absolutely not have to put themselves through the ringer of press questions.
I don’t get anything out of “yeah my opponent played hard, I played hard, the fans cheered, we work hard and will continue to work hard.”
— Matt (@HowSpurs) June 4, 2021
Others spoke about the nuances of mental health in a sporting industry, and suggested maybe the expectation of press interviews should be removed.
My own feeling is that they should do, but I think Naomi Osaka has a fair point about the impact on mental health. Getting in front of the world media at any point would be difficult, especially when things are going wrong. Maybe the option not to do conference should be ok.
— Matthew Williams (@MatthewW1991) June 3, 2021
This echoes the feeling of one of our own writers, who believes that the media have no divine right to kick sports people when they're down.
When was the last time a post-match interview actually interested you? The last time a manager, player or coach said something genuinely explosive, the last time they revealed even a modicum of raw emotion?
Sports stars are given a huge amount of media training and know that the vast majority of the time they are not able to say what they truly think. Yet after every match they are asked the same things. The sportspeople don't enjoy it at the best of times. But can you imagine answering questions after a defeat?
In tennis, the players must face the media in the half hour after a game. There have been press conferences after games where players have had to eat during them because the match has finished so late. In the men's game, players will sometimes have just lost a four or five-hour, five-set epic and then have to sit in front of a room of journalists and tell them how they feel. And they can't just say "like shit."
Just yesterday, we reported that the meditation Calm app would pay for tennis players' fines for stepping away from media in support of Naomi Osaka.
Calm announced on Wednesday that it had made a generous donation of $15,000 to French sports charity Laureus, adding that it will pay future fines of any Grand Slam players who make the decision to skip press conferences in order to protect their mental health.
Osaka herself has received an outpouring of support and kind messages following her decision to step down from the tournament, ranging from singers and actors, to fellow sporting stars.
What are your thoughts? Should sports stars be subjected to media interviews?